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Mt. Pleasant Marine receives Silver Star

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 5/6/2004

Story by cpl. Luis Agostini

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(May 6, 2004) -- Marine Lance Cpl. Armand E. McCormick, 22, received the Silver Star Medal from the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, during an awards ceremony May 5 at Marine Air Ground Combat Training Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

McCormick, a Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, native, received the military's third-highest award for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as rifleman for Combined Anti-Armor Platoon, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 25, 2003.

Three other Marines received medals for valor at the same ceremony. "They are the reflection of the Marine Corps type who's service to the Marine Corps and country is held above their own safety and lives," said Gen. Hagee, commenting on the four Marines who received medals during the ceremony. "I'm proud to be here awarding the second highest and third highest awards for bravery to these great Marines."

"These four Marines are a reflection of every Marine and sailor in this great battalion," said Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada.

Under heavy fire McCormick exhibited exceptional bravery when the lead elements of his battalion were ambushed with mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and squad automatic weapons fire. Fearlessly he drove his lightly armored vehicle directly at an enemy machine gun position and purposely crashed it into an occupied trench line. With the initial breach of the enemy defense now gained for his unit, he sprang from the vehicle and began assaulting the berm and ambush line with two Marines. Taking direct fire, and outnumbered, he pressed forward, firing his M9 pistol at enemy forces. Moving through the trench, he repeatedly came under enemy fire, each time calmly taking well-aimed shots.

As the group ran low on ammunition, he collected enemy rifles and a rocket- propelled grenade and continued to press the attack forward several hundred meters. As a follow-on company began to make their entrance into the berm, he returned to his vehicle and backed it out of the trench. McCormick's boldly aggressive actions greatly reduced the enemy's ability to inflict casualties on the rest of his battalion.

"It's an honor of course, it is just another day in the Marine Corps," said McCormick.

"I ready to go it again and help out with the situation," he said about redeploying to Iraq. Consequently, McCormick will be redeploying to Iraq Friday.

"To me I did what I was suppose to do, I did what was expected," he added.

Established in 1918, the Silver Star is awarded to a person who is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The required gallantry, while of a lesser degree than that required for award of the Distinguished Service Cross, must nevertheless have been performed with marked distinction.



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